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Queer Town: Villaraigosa Breaks Bread with Rick Warren


A few days after gays and lesbians took part in national Valentine's Day-timed protests  against Proposition 8's November victory, evangelical minister Rick Warren addressed the city's annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown L.A.,  the L.A. Times reported.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had personally invited Warren, who supported the successful ballot measure that took away the existing right for gays and lesbians to legally marry in California.  Before the blood had dried in that battle, President Barack Obama then chose Warren to give the invocation at the presidential inauguration, igniting another huge controversy.

Villaraigosa didn't let that firestorm stop him from picking Warren to be his keynote speaker on Valentine's Day. It should also be remembered that Villaraigosa, Los Angeles' number-one elected official, was mysteriously out of town June 17, 2008, the first day that gays and lesbians were legally getting hitched.

It also didn't stop L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich from saying a few strange things last Saturday. First, he praised

Villiaraigosa for having "the courage to say no to political

correctness."  Antonovich also gave Warren

a thumbs up for being "a pastor who believes in traditional marriage." 

All in all, Los Angeles politicians, and even former president Bill Clinton, seem to think it's more business as usual with the gay crowd, where they show up for a Gay Pride Parade, make a few nice speeches when necessary, and then do whatever they want for the rest of the year, thinking gays and lesbians will, once again, roll over.

Villaraigosa, though, is up for re-election in March, and gays can give him a "what for?" at the ballot booths. The mayor will still probably win, but if he chooses to run for California governor in 2010, the Warren goof and his June disappearing act could come back to haunt him, as gays and lesbians tire of the politics of convenience. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who will also likely run for governor and was a strong supporter of the "No on 8" campaign, may not only pick up the gay vote, but energize it as well.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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